Since attending ‘The Public Law Toolbox Conference’, I’ve been flicking through the book and have been thoroughly impressed. Mai Chen brought together a diverse and well-informed group of speakers to share their thoughts and insights on public law. Many of New Zealand’s top politicians, legislators and administrators took fifteen minutes or so to explain their key observations and issues, and we noted some points of particular interest –

  • Members of the public can make complaints to the Regulations Review Committee (Charles Chauvel, MP and Chair of the Committee.
  • The Auditor-General undertakes performance audits and the Auditor-General’s annual plan includes a list of proposed performance audits. The public can comment on the areas of concern and the annual plan.
  • Personal information is the currency of the 21st century; it has both a monetary and administrative value. Thus, the Privacy Commissioner does not just receive complaints but looks to the future of technology to inform public policy and future-proof privacy.
  • ‘Culture eats everything else for breakfast’ according to Health and Disability Commissioner, Anthony Hill. Essentially, when things are going wrong it is often the culture that needs re-examining.
  • “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead’ (Mark Twain) was quoted by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright, to emphasise the hard work that goes into write short, concise and timely reports but the importance of so, in this busy age of data deluge.

The event complimented Mai’s recent book on the subject, the Public Law Toolbox which has been touted by Sir Geoffrey Palmer as adding a new dimension to understanding the New Zealand government and how New Zealanders are governed. Jenny Shipley has called it a ‘gift to our nation’, and says it is a ‘highly useable and informative roadmap of New Zealand’s legal and institutional architecture and function which should in future provide confidence to many, who up to now have felt excluded’. It will be a highly useful resource, which we picked up at the event and is in our library if anyone wants to have a look.

Posted by: Lydia Nobbs

Last Updated 5 years by admin